These six life-style habits will help you feel and look your best at every age.
LOOKING GOOD, FEELING GREAT
1. PROTECT YOUR SKIN
Daily skin-care routine
Apply at least 35 SPF sunblock (for both (UVA and UVB rays) on your face and the backs of your hands 365 days a year (regardless of the weather!). Use moisturizer after cleaning your face, every night and morning. Exfoliate your facial skin at least four times a week.
Sun-proof your car
If you spend a lot of time driving, you may have noticed that your left hand and the left side of your face have more freckles and wrinkles than the right. That’s because your car’s window glass only blocks the sun’s UVB rays. UVA rays, which also cause premature aging and cancer, are not blocked by glass. You can, however, block UVA rays by installing special sunblock shades for about $10 to $20 a window from Amazon.com, and other auto shop resources.
2. STAY HYDRATED
Not everyone feels thirsty when her body needs more fluids. A good way to tell is by pinching the back of your hand or lower arm. If the skin doesn’t snap back quickly, that means your body needs water. If you don’t care for plain water, there are plenty of fruits and vegetables with water as an important ingredient (cucumbers, watermelon, tomatoes, grapefruit, grapes, etc.). Don’t, however, substitute soda for water.
3. EAT SENSIBLY
The best general guide for eating seems to be some form of the Mediterranean Diet. This means lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fish, olive oil, a moderate amount of poultry, eggs and cheese, and some red meat. Stop eating when your stomach tells you it’s full. (Don’t worry about leaving food on your plate.)
4. GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP EVERY NIGHT
When you don’t sleep well you don’t feel or look your best. A 2013 study found that sleep-deprived people had more dark circles under their eyes and more wrinkles. That’s because lack of sleep activates cortisol, the stress hormone. Without enough sleep, your cortisol levels go up, aging your skin and removing collagen. If you have trouble getting enough sleep, consult your primary doctor. Don’t self-medicate.
5. CHOOSE AN EXERCISE YOU ENJOY
Hiking, biking, running, dancing—these are all good ways to burn calories and get your heart pumping while improving your coordination and building greater stamina. It’s important to pick an exercise you really enjoy, because otherwise you may not continue. It’s not so much which exercise you choose as the regularity of doing it that counts in the end. (BTW: Exercise reduces cortisol, helping your skin stay young and fresh-looking.)
6. MAKE AND MAINTAIN FRIENDSHIPS
Recent studies confirm that friends are important for your mental and physical health. They build self- confidence, share your happiness and help you cope with rough times. They also help keep your cortisol stress level down. You can meet new friends at work, at church, at the gym. Or even just taking the dog for a walk. It’s never too late to make new friends or reconnect with old ones.